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Thursday, April 17, 2014 | Last updated: 8:53pm


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Payne has decision to make: Go pro or stay




By Dillon Davis / The State News

MSU head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo recaps the season, looking back at the career of senior center Derrick Nix.



With MSU’s 2012-13 season coming to a close in the Sweet 16 this past weekend, Tom Izzo made his way to the podium one final time to wrap up the season that was.

The main focus was junior center Adreian Payne, who will use the coming weeks to decide if he will enter the NBA Draft.

Izzo said fans often ask why a player wouldn’t want to come back for a senior season, and said it’s something every player faces.

“Let me tell you something: Every kid on my roster wants to go pro early. Every one,” Izzo said. “And I’ll make a better statement: Every kid on 99 percent of programs in the country would like to leave early for the NBA if they could. That’s just the way an athlete is.”

Still, the head coach said there’s a lot to consider before making a final decision.

The plan
Izzo: “Before you submit anything, they have an advisory board for (underclassmen). They get about six to eight (general managers) to get input from everybody, to give you some clue. And then with that clue, you can put your name in or not. But I’m also calling friends of mine or just cold calling some guys, and I’m asking his high school coach and assistant coach.”

Things to consider
Izzo: “In a lot of ways, it would benefit him to come back. But depending on what he’s projected as would determine my advice for him. I’m trying to keep in (mind) the fact … look at Trey Burke in our state and how he bettered himself, look at the guys from Florida a couple years ago — they both bettered themselves. I’ve been warned on this — it’s hard to say what pick (he will) be matters. Some of you would say he’s the 10th pick, he’s the fifth pick, the 27th pick. It’s when are you mature enough to handle, both physically and mentally, the grind that keeps you in for longevity, not a cup of coffee. What hasn’t been talked about is the number of guys who’ve been in for a cup of coffee.”

Izzo’s advice Izzo: “First thing I told him, ‘We can make this real easy. If you’re not gonna work as hard from now until next March as you did from last March until this March, leave. Go immediately. Don’t worry about nothing, just put your name in. Because you will go downhill.’ And there are a lot of people that do that. I have no doubt he has All-American qualities, and a lot of good things could happen. I have no doubt he’ll get better, which would improve his draft pick wherever he goes. But it just depends on what’s out there and what people think of him, and we’ll make an educated decision. He’ll make the final decision. I’ll give him educated information, the best I can.”

Payne’s thoughts on NBA after loss to Duke
Payne: “I don’t want to think about that right now. It’s not respectful to Derrick Nix, who just played his last game, to talk about that right now.”


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